|The Zande total 750,000 and live in northeast Zaire, the Central African Republic, and the Sudan, on the banks of the Ucle River. Always at war with the Mangbetu, whom they finally conquered, they nevertheless were influenced by them. These two peoples came from the Sudan and, from the sixteenth century on, were constantly on the move.
In 1750, the Vurungura clan furnished rulers to the little kingdoms of the region; their warlike nature led them to dominate their neighbors. Due to an hereditary aristocracy, the king controlled the local chiefs. In addition to a cult devoted to royal ancestors, the Zande have complex funerary rites and on many occasions use oracles of poison. Like the Mangbetu, they have built major architectural structures, among which are the princely palaces that so surprised the first travelers…
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